We Had Hot Fun In The Summer Time: Black Cultural Events Hits The Road!

by Tricia Cochée

It’s been a hot summer both literally and figuratively in Southern California, with music, plays, festivals and celebrations from Santa Monica to San Bernardino to San Diego! BlackCulturalEvents.com hit the road to check out what’s happening in the communities we serve and beyond, so check out our photos, you may see yourself and your friends!
Family, friends and volunteers kicked-off the summer activities with our first BlackCulturalEvents@ event at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Friday Night Jazz featuring the soulful vocals of Dwight Trible. Always a summertime destination for those that want to hear straight ahead jazz, this Museum music series actually runs April through November every year, for the past 32 years. Dwight Trible and his ensemble were fabulous, as usual, (congrats to Dwight on his new CD, Inspirations) and it was great to see old friends and make new ones!

Ask some Angeleno’s when does summer officially start, and they will promptly tell you it’s not summertime until the Juneteenth Festivals happen around town and the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl! In past years, both events have happened on the same weekend! This year folks were able to celebrate both events on different weekends. Juneteenth was celebrated from Carson, to Compton, Inglewood and Leimert Park to Long Beach and Santa Monica and beyond! Our second BlackCulturalEvents@ was held at both the Juneteenth Festival in Leimert Park and the Juneteenth Festival in Carson. Both venues were jumping with family fun and activities, great music, food and craft vendors, and Carson showed out with a vintage car show.

In its 39th year, the Playboy Jazz Festival had a great lineup this year, both days! Everyone has their favorite moments and artist performances, but particularly touching this year was the tribute to Al Jarreau. See some of our BlackCulturalEvents.com friends below!

There were many more highlights throughout the summer but a few stand out amongst the crowd.
The first was the Love Jones 20th Anniversary Screening and Conversation. Yes, that Love Jones! Love Jones has become so much a part of Black culture, it has become an adjective, as in, “it’s going to be a Love Jones kind of night”.
It was an amazing celebration of the movie, (special 35mm film print, no less), with conversation with all the cast, producer, director, writer, editor, music composer and editors, and cinematographer after the screening. One of the most profound statements was by actor, Larenz Tate, who said that each element of the film was its own character. I agree. From the lightening and cinematography to the music, (the film had its own soundtrack, which lives on to this day), the editing, and of course the great writing and chemistry amongst the actors all contributed to making this film a classic.
For all the Love Jones fans that missed the celebration, or for anyone that wants to understand what’s the difference between a director and a filmmaker, check out the conversation here.

Ensemble Cast of Love Jones. First Row: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Bernadette L. Clark and Lisa Nicole Carson. Second Row: Isaiah Washington, Leonard Roberts Bill Bellamy.

The second highlight of the summer was the Kerry James Marshall exhibition, Mastry at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Grand) in downtown Los Angeles. The fine art exhibition actually ran March 12 to July 3, 2017. To say this was an absolutely stunning show is an understatement.  Everyone around town was talking about it! The imagery was captivating and truly masterful, simply genius. If you missed it, you missed out, but you can catch glimpses of his work on the MOCA website (not nearly as powerful as seeing in person), and you can hear an artist talk with Mr. Marshall here.

Our third summer highlight and final BlackCulturalEvents@ took place at a theatre event that folks are still talking about! Just to quote one of the theatre goers, “Terrell Tilford is outstanding! Peter J. Harris did an amazing job writing this piece. It’s funny, sad, erotic, titillating, among other adjectives and emotions. It’s about masculinity, humanity, self-love and other loves.” The play was, “The Johnson Chronicles: Truth & Tall Tales About My Penis, written and directed by writer and poet Peter J. Harris and performed by Terrell Tilford, was indeed insightful, emotional, sensual and definitely grown folks conversation! Thanks to all of our BlackCulturalEvents.com supporters that came out to enjoy the play! Bravo and congratulations to the entire production team and your successful theatre run!

Well if summer “officially” starts with Juneteenth and the Playboy Jazz Festival, its official ending has to be the Watts Tower’s Drum and Jazz Festival happening this weekend! Check out the schedule on BlackCulturalEvents.com!